IT experts contemplating the benefits of freelancing may be tempted to walk away from permanent posts and work through umbrella companies supplying the IT skills market, in the light of new research from ReThink Recruitment. IT contracting, it would seem, is poised to see a surge in demand.

ReThink’s study provides compelling evidence that IT directors in the UK have one over-riding priority: staff retention. Of those directors surveyed in the research, a sizeable majority – 85 per cent –  said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about their ability to hold on to their IT talent in 2011.

A large number of respondents (41 per cent) had expanded their IT headcounts in 2010, and 80 per cent of those polled said they expected to preserve or increase their IT staff this year. ReThink Recruitment’s Director, Michael Bennett, said that the good news for IT experts was that the recovery in both pay and jobs is actually accelerating presently. But good news for the jobbing IT contractor can be a headache for employers, who now face a “very real challenge” in holding on to essential IT staff, according to Mr Bennett.

He went on to explain that the IT skills market does not have a large pool of unemployed IT talent swimming around in it waiting for IT directors to fish them out. Skills tend to be very specific and continually updated, with appropriately qualified people being snapped up very rapidly. This could indeed be a rather lucrative time for salaried professionals to opt for IT contracting.

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